Skenesborough Harbor has never seen vacancies like this.
“We may have had as many as two apartments here empty since I have been here, and that was the most at one time,” said Laurie Gordon, director of the independent living community in Whitehall. “Right now, we have six empty apartments here. I do not know if it is economic or not, because these are low-rent apartments and very affordable.”
Gordon said that some of those who have recently left the apartment complex have said that their main reason for moving on was to be closer to services.
“We had three that relocated recently; two to Glens Falls and one to Watervliet,” said Gordon. “What they told me when they left was that they wanted to be closer to more services.”
Gordon said that the lack some services has been a concern in attracting people to the community.
“We pass out brochures and give our information to agencies in Glens Falls and throughout the region,” said Gordon. “Right now, the people want to live in places where they are closer to stuff.”
While residents of the apartment complex say that it is a challenge sometimes to get where they need to go for certain items, it is not something that deters them from staying at the complex.
“I’m very much satisfied living here,” said Ardythe Shovah. “I would like for there to be a grocery store here, but I go to Fair Haven and I drive my own car.”
“I came here because I liked the building and needed an apartment,” said Joyce Rist. “I can get what I need pretty well.”
“I have the services that I need between the Dollar General and Green Mountain Marketplace,” said Nancy LeClaire. “I do pretty good. Getting clothing is the main problem here. You can get the food, but the clothing and shoes is difficult.”
“I moved here because it was a nice place and I no longer wanted to live in my home,” said Jean Soothcage. “I wanted to be around people. It is a pain to travel, but I can get by doing it.”
Carole Vanguilder, who has lived at Skenesborough Harbor for six years and grew up in Whitehall, said that the economy is a major factor on everything.
“It definitely plays a part,” said Vanguilder. “Years ago, Whitehall was booming.”
“We were running through it the other day,” said Shovah. “There were three drug stores, grocery stores, clothing shops, jewelery store, a shoemaker. We now have the one drug store.”
“It has changed,” said Gordon about the town.
Gordon also added that members of the town may not see Skenesborough Harbor for what it really is, a housing complex and not an “assisted living center.”
“The community sees this place as an assisted living nursing home, which is not true,” said Gordon. “I want people to know that this is completely independent living. We offer programs all of the time, but they are not mandatory. You rent the apartment and you come and go as you please.”
Gordon said that there are currently 13 residents who do not have their own transportation, and that the complex offers them a van to get out and purchase what they need.
“We have a van that comes over after Social Security checks come out,” said Gordon. “It goes to the Walmart in Ticonderoga so they are able to go shopping.”
Gordon said that they would like to offer more van services, but make the trip when it benefits the most people due to the distances involved.
“In Granville, they are able to go with the van two or three times,” said Gordon. “There, though, they are only traveling up the street to the Price Chopper and the Rite Aid.”
Skenesborough Harbor is part of National Church Residences, which also runs apartment complexes for those ages 62 and over and/or the mobility impaired in 300 areas, including two in Rutland and in Whitehall, Granville and Greenwich.